4-Keys to A More Effective Prayer Life
Game-Changers for Effective Prayer
Do you ever feel like your prayers aren’t being answered and you start to wonder what’s going on? I think we all feel this way at times. Okay, maybe a lot. It’s understandable. I actually feel this way quite often. Even so, I believe a “prayer of faith” will be more effective when it comes to praying God’s promises and using Christ’s authority in a tandem approach to prayer.
It also makes a difference “to pray and not give up” as Jesus illustrated in His parable of The Persistent Widow (Lk. 18:1-8). It’s important to keep “contending” (the language the Apostle Paul uses for prayer i.e., wrestling, fighting, persevering) until you see the kind of change that God has promised. Or as one pastor/author acquaintance of mine puts it in his recent book, P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens). But still, is there a way to pray more effectively, especially for those things or people you really care about? Again, I believe we can be more effective in how we pray, especially since Jesus and the Scriptures give us models for prayer. Praying effectively leads to change, increases our faith, and encourages us to keep on praying. However, most of us still pray by simply asking. It’s not a bad thing and is often what we’re taught through the examples we’ve seen, heard or have read about. The problem is that effective prayer has less to do with asking and more to do with agreeing with something God already wants—with what He’s promised and willed. For example, the Bible says:
The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Elijah was a human being, even as we are. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops (James 5:16-18).
But what exactly does that mean? And what did he pray anyway? There are two things that really stand out in this section of Scripture if we take a moment to discover what the author is talking about here.
1. Find Out What God Wants
The first step to effective prayer is to identify and become familiar with what God has promised, what He wills and desires. The foundation for faith is God’s Word; and His faithfulness to who He is and in what He’s done (Psalm 138:2; 2 Cor. 1:20; Heb. 6:18). Elijah’s prayer referenced here in the Book of James was based on what God had already told him—“The word of the Lord came to Elijah: ‘Go and present yourself to Ahab and I will send rain on the land.’” Interestingly, the same thing is true for the examples of faith given in Hebrews 11. They were preceded by something God had said, promised, and willed. So when it came down to it, Elijah simply declared authoritatively to King Ahab, “Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of heavy rain” (1 Kings 18:41). Elijah could declare this because God had spoken and willed it. But nothing happened right away. So Elijah continued to pray and watch—he contended. In other words, he P.U.S.H.ed until he saw the first sign of God’s answer manifested in a small cloud, the size of man’s fist. After observing the first small sign of God’s answer, Elijah boldly tells his servant to go tell Ahab, “Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you” (1 Kings 18:44). Likewise, it is important for us to always begin our prayers and petition on the basis of what God has already promised or spoken. How?
2. Ask Jesus
First, Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in searching for God’s promises and various Scripture passages related to your particular situation. Use a Bible app or Google search to find promises or scriptures related to your situation.
Instead of only asking or “praying for” something, simply agree with what God wants by declaring or stating aloud what God has promised and said in His Word. For example, in regard to someone you’ve been praying for to become a follower of Jesus, you could pray something like: Lord, because you desire that all people come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4); and because you will that no one should perish but come to have everlasting life (2 Peter 3:9). May it be so now according to your word in regard to (name of the person you’re praying for).
Rather than asking and just wishing and hoping, assert God’s Word and promises in faith by declaring them as something certain to come about because God’s Word is His absolute truth and the expression of His Sovereign will. For example:
” Sovereign Lord, as you have promised . . . (Lk. 2:29)
” O Lord, you have said . . . (Gen. 32:9-12)(Exodus 33:12-23)
3. Use Christ’s Authority .
Sadly most of the believing community knows little about the practical use of the authority Jesus has given them to minister and pray. Using Jesus’ authority is a game-changer because it is the verbal expression of His purpose and will; especially when we use God’s Word. It is simply stating, declaring, or commanding that which God wills and promises to come about. We can have confidence in doing so because God is faithful to all that He’s promised and His will is the declaration from the highest authority. He intends for it to come about because of who He is. But like our obedience, it requires our participation.
Jesus models this perfectly in His rejection of Satan’s attempt to distract him from carrying out His purpose in the desert and ultimately to surrender God’s higher purpose for His life. While it was part of the “test” He was to face, He nevertheless rejected Satan’s attempts to lead Him outside of God’s will by authoritatively speaking to Him with God’s word and then finally sending him away with the direct command “Away from me, Satan!” Up until that point, despite Jesus’ use of Scripture, Satan remained only to return with yet another test—even quoting the Scriptures himself! (see Mt. 4:1-11; Lk. 4:1-13)
With each audible declaration of God’s promises & will it is important to also verbally & audibly use Jesus’ authority to forbid and expel any potential influence of evil that may be involved—that may be trying to oppose God’s will or promises, or the fulfillment of your request.
Speak audibly and directly to any suspected evil spiritual influence giving clear, specific, directed and firm commands that represent God’s will, promises, and truth. For example:
• “It is written . . . away from me Satan!” (Matthew 4:1-11)
• “In the Name of Jesus Christ I command you . . .” (Acts 16:16-18)
4. Gather With Others
If you’ve been praying and contending on your own with little or no results you might want to begin involving others in the matter you’re praying about. There is greater power and effect when you gather with others to battle in prayer. So, if at first you don’t succeed, try gathering with two or more to pray and contend with you in regard to your situation. This, along with using the authority Christ has given you are the two most under-utilized and most effective tools God has given us to accomplish His purpose in prayer (Matthew 18:19-20)
Putting It All Together
To illustrate and provide an example, let’s say you’re praying for someone you care about in order that they come to know the Lord and begin to follow Him in a life of discipleship. You could pray something like:
Lord, because you desire that all people come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4); and because you will that no one should perish but come to have everlasting life (2 Peter 3:9). May it be so now according to your word in regard to (name of the person you’re praying for). And with authority, “In Jesus’ name, because it is written that, “Satan has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God,” I/we command you to remove your blinding effects in order that they can see, hear, and respond to Christ. Lord Jesus, because you’ve said, “No one can come to the me unless the Father who sent me draws them,” will you now according to your word, draw them to Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Always be aware that prayer is a battle and is a powerful instrument for affecting change. It will provoke and initiate activity in the spiritual realm. Therefore it is equally important when praying to regularly utilize the authority Christ has given you to forbid and confront influences of evil as they seek to hinder and affect times of prayer and those who participate.
May the Lord bless you as you pray with faith and authority using God’s Word as your foundation for faith and “getting God’s way in your life and circumstances. Please share the results with us by email at [email protected] And if you’d like a brief Bible Study on this topic please send us your email at the same address. Thank you!